Do you love to take your four-legged friends outdoors? Why not let him tag along on your next crag-climbing adventure? With proper training, preparation, and equipment, your dog can join you in your favorite sport.
“Crag dog climbing” is the term to describe a steep and rugged rock or cliff where you can perform climbing activities and sports.
Crag dogs are excellent companions for climbers. Keep reading to know more about what they are and what you should do to implement crag dog climbing safely.
So, Exactly What Is a Crag Dog?
You must be thrilled about the idea of crag climbing with your furry friend. However, there are still a lot of things to consider and understand before deciding whether to take on the adventure together.
A crag dog is a dog that is trained and prepared to accompany and aid climbers on their adventure in steep and rugged terrain.
You should ensure that your dog is suitable for crag climbing by gearing him up properly, practicing his cliff ascent, and teaching him basic skills in obedience and discipline.
Can Your Dog Rock Climb?
That depends on how easy or difficult the route is and how well your dog can climb. You should know that many crag dogs don’t climb, even if some athletic ones ascend cliffs as humans do.
The owner usually rappels them up and down, or they stay at the rock base.
The Best Breeds for Crag Dog Climbing
Almost every healthy, calm, socialized, and active dog can easily ascend crags if you’ve trained them well for this type of sport.
However, some types of dogs are better at being crag dogs. Their trainability, temperament, and other features determine whether they can be the right companion on your adventures.
If you don’t own a dog yet and want to know which breed is the best for crag climbing or hiking, you can check out the list here.
- Labrador retrievers
- Siberian Huskies
- The great Pyrenees
- Australian Shepherds
- Border Collies
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Catahoula Leopard Dogs
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Australian Cattle Dogs
Don’t be discouraged if your pup hasn’t made it to the list. Many other breeds have proven to be great partners for outdoor sports. In fact, almost any dog can safely accompany you and rest at the route base when you climb higher. If they are friendly, obedient, not overly reactive, and in good shape, you can confidently take your dog on your hiking and climbing journey.
Rappelling and Climbing
If your canine friend is adventurous and active, leaving him indoors while you go on adventures can be tough. Sadly, crag climbing isn’t the safest sport for dogs.
Nevertheless, that shouldn’t be the sole reason for you to leave your buddy at home bored while you climb mountains and have a fantastic time. So what should you do? Consider training him for rappelling and climbing if you want your dog’s company on the next adventure.
Why Shouldn’t You Climb With an Untrained Pooch?
If your dog isn’t properly mannered and lacks obedience skills, he’s simply not prepared to join you on your daring adventures. It will be an unpleasant experience as you’d be managing him instead while you should be concentrating your energy on climbing.
Unless your dog is able to control himself and interacts appropriately with other people, letting him stay unsupervised on the rock face is not safe.
Keep in mind that it isn’t other climbers’ responsibility to watch your dog while you’re enjoying doing the activity. That’s a major reason why crag dogs should be independent, obedient, and well-trained to become good climbing companions.
A proper crag dog should have these traits and skills:
- Calm temperament
- Unafraid of heights
- Quick response to calls and commands
- Basic obedience training
- Reliable Recall
How to Train Your Dog for Crag Climbing
After finding the perfect friend to accompany you at your next crag climbing session, the next thing is to prep him for the activity. Here are some essential traits your dog needs to develop before taking on the adventure with you.
- Proper socialization
For you to take your buddy to the crag, ensure that he is friendly with other dogs/pets, and properly mannered around wild animals and strangers, including children. Without this trait, you’ll be spending more time disciplining your dog on the cliff instead of climbing, to say the least.
- Reliable respond
If your pooch is not responsive to basic commands like “Stand,” “Sit,” “Down,” or “Stay,” you cannot expect him to obediently ascend cliffs without worrying you and putting himself in danger. Mastering recall is another crucial skill your dog must develop because you’re never sure what will happen in the mountains.
- Dog training
Before jumping right ahead to crag climbing training, you should see that you have control over your dog. It is simply dangerous and not fun for you to bring an untrained dog to the cliff.
To ensure your and everyone else’s safety, train your buddy to go and stay at a specific place. For example, use the cue “on your bed” or something else you prefer to make him stay down in a safe place. This command will come in handy when you want to protect your dog from falling debris and other potential dangers at the site.
Rappelling with a Dog
By now, we’ll assume that your dog isn’t afraid of high altitudes! Because fear of heights is going to be a problem if you’re planning to transport him up and down vertical cliffs or rocks. You’ll need to tandem rappel or belay your companion to descend a steep cliff.
The crag dog should have a sturdy and comfortable harness, and you need to ensure that he has no problem with being hung up in the air or extended lifting.
Rappelling with your furry friend is pretty much the same as how you’d do it with a person. Rappel him as you would typically do after securing him on the belay tool, your harness, or any other safe place.
Gears for Crag Dog Climbing – What Do You Need?
Getting equipped is another important aspect of preparation for crag climbing. You must be all set if you’re an avid climber. Luckily, gearing up your companion, too, won’t break the bank. All he needs is food, a bowl to eat/drink it from, a harness, and a comfortable place to rest.
Splurging and purchasing other accessories besides these essentials is entirely up to you. So here are some things you might want to pack to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for your dog.
Rules and Regulations in Crag Dog Climbing
Regardless of whether your pooch is the best crag climber or just starting, you’ve got to leave him at home if the crag doesn’t allow pets. Google the place you plan to visit to read its regulations and policies. If you find them, know that they are important.
Many areas put regulations to prioritize wildlife and concentrate on conserving the ecosystem. Some crags might have certain considerations. For instance, no matter how obedient your dog is, the desert’s ecosystem might be unsafe for him.
Dogs cannot distinguish cryptobiotic soil from normal soil and avoid the trail as humans can. Heed the rules and regulations to avoid danger before heading out.
Does Your Dog Enjoy Crag Dog Climbing?
This is an important aspect, as not all dogs are the same. While some love being in the great outdoors and exploring new places as you do, others are happier laying on the couch, and being on edge makes them uncomfortable.
So, as a dog parent, you would know your dog’s needs better. Heed to whether he likes climbing the crag, whether he’s at ease when other climbers and dogs give him attention, and whether he has any problem with constant harnessing.
If the response is negative, you and your dog will be better off doing something you both enjoy. After all, the entire purpose of hitting the outdoors with your dog is to create a fun time for both you and your companion.
There are quite a lot of things to take care of before venturing into crag climbing activities with your furry friend. Once you’ve ensured he’s fit to head out with you to the cliffs, take ample time to condition him for different circumstances.
Preparation is key when it comes to making this kind of sport enjoyable and less problematic. You have some gear to get your hands on and a lot of training sessions coming up.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what crag dogs are and how you must prepare to let your pet enjoy a sport you love.
We recommend first going somewhere familiar and safe and working your way up to the cliffs. It’s important to give your dog the time to get used to climbing and improve his skills.
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